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tv   The Communicators  CSPAN  December 8, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm EST

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when we deal with minorities because they are too feeble minded. we have to make concessions. when you treat people like victims, i do not think they want to aspire. >> the editor and publisher of on q&a. >> on "the communicators," we are looking at the future of tv. we're pleased to have join us michael powell. thank you for being on "the communicators" again. we appreciate it. if you would, put on your future glasses. >> they are on. >> look ahead. 15, 20 years. what is tv going to look like? what is the cable industry going
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to look like? >> i would say it followed the technological trends that have transformed all the businesses. the first and would probably observe is the dramatic shift from hardware to software- centered systems. the minute you are able to do more in software rather than proprietary hardware, i think that is coming to television. you are right to ask the consumer what is dtv experience in the home. they will talk about a box that sits on the credenza. they will talk about the remote control. they will talk about what they do not like about that, to be perfectly candid. but they will talk about halt all of this will be migrated into software rather than proprietary hardware, and i think you will get innovation. a company like time warner or comcast can innovate overnight,
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not with the hardware replacement. then, i think you see the other great trend that we have seen in mobile and the app environments. then you are able to deliver a new, interesting experience. you have the information that we all love, but also married that with the pipe. i hopefully -- i hope that you can create new experiences. >> from time warner, they predicted that all channels will be like hbo. subscription-based. >> people say that. >> he did not say all cards -- ala carte. >> i didn't think that he would. what that means is that people
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will have an anywhere anytime approach to the television device. my show is on at 7:30. i am angry with my mother because we are out shopping and if we do not get back in the next 20 minutes, i am going to mess it -- i'm going to miss it. and i am not going to have any ability to catch up to it or see it again. no child today has that experience, first of all, already. but the new dimension that is going to come into that is the devices. the ability to get to all of these other things. which is what you see people talking about software and i.t. meaning if i can speak the language of all these devices, then i can put this into all computing devices. and then you have the power to choose time, place, and manner.
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i have not seen sunday's episode yet. i have heard people talk about that. the redskins were on monday night. i would much prefer to see that. but tonight -- thriller night. i might watch that tonight. when you have the ability to command comcast, i think things will look a lot more like that. what i do not necessarily agree with just as a tv watcher, i think people still love discovery. i do not mean just the channel. i think finding it surprises. i think every month or every year i hear about some show that people are suddenly talking about that i could not ever imagine shooting. if you said to me, mike, i want you to choose "honey boo boo" or
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certain food channel networks. if i had to predetermine, i do not think i would ever choose those. but to stumble on them or go into that environment -- you know, i might like"honey boo boo." i think that is a huge part of the american television experience and i think it gets sold short when we talk about anytime, anywhere, now. americans love being able to just kind of thrown around and find things they did not know were there. >> also joining us with our conversation is lynn stanton. >> talking about discovery, how important a role will social media play in your tv experience going ahead? >> that is a great question.
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if you think about social media the way i do, it is just conversation. all it is is it has always been about conversation. it not about the moment you are watching it and the intimate pleasure that you get when you are watching your favorite show. what you really want to do -- i want to pick up the phone and call my sister and see what she thought about it. i have been doing that for years. when you go to work the next day. i do not know about your office, but one of the first things that happens in staff meetings is "hey, guys, did you hear -- " i think social networking is a brilliant invention because it allows the group to group communication in a real efficient way the other communication tools couldn't. now, i do not have to wait to call my sister. i see her do it all the time.
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that launches a conversation. i think what most tv executives would say is the social phenomenon is fuelling the golden age of television, playing a very complementary role and providing new experiences. >> do you think people will be designing the role of television through social media? they may have it this page with whatever the new facebook is in 10 years. they will be saying that you should be watching this food show or "honey boo boo," and just click on my page. whether they are doing this through privacy or this is a way programmers' connect to more viewers -- >> yes.
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yes. but some probably takes longer and is more complex than we think and i do not think we should assume that that would be enjoyable to consumers. i do think you see consumers backlash with in being too intimately tracked. i am being too stopped beeping in the presidential election of 2012, i began to feel creepy, the degree to which political candidates were hunting my every move. you know, at some point, you have your friends telling you to like something, and you like. at some point, you cross a dark chasm in which you feel a discomfort, the degree to which you are being watched and track. i think that is what the privacy debate is about keeping it is not just privacy. it is where is the balance, the creepy factor.
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meditative and big data will make all of that possible. what the consumers respond to, i think, is far from clear. they are already doing a version of that. a lot of people will plop on the couch, turn on the tv, and open the ipad. they are having dual screen experiences. they are not watching the show. they will find something complimentary to what they are doing. it maybe christmas shopping. my favorite thing to do is watch the show while watching the blog. on "24," there were so many hidden things happening on that show. it was really fun to have someone say, did you notice jack bauer go to the stairs. it was really fun. >> michael powell, with
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detracting that you mentioned, when you look at the future of tv and advertising, what do you see? as the 32nd-had gone away? are we going to see a new mode of advertising? >> i think we already have an answer to that. when i was talking about stalking, you are essentially talking about advertising. whether the purpose is political or to sell a product. the one to create a composite of my preferences, my travels through digital media. that has certainly created a degree of advertising that has specificity that television advertising never did. if you are procter and gamble and you run an ad, it is very hard for you to know how much of the ad works.
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he ran at. some creative group says you did a great job, they like the look of a. you run consumer surveys. the internet provides much more real time answers to those kinds of return on investment questions. i think you see advertisers chasing a lot of digital advertising because they learn more about the effectiveness of their messages. i think the tv ads have to become more entertaining. it is mini tv. i think it is hilarious that the super bowl is as much a parade of television advertisements as a football game. why? that is the day that advertisers go for it all. to take the most creative. i think the super bowl is expanding into the year. you can really lobbied for
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doritos in july. you will have to give me something that will capture me like it did at the super bowl. i need some entertainment lawyer. you've got to get my sign whose world is so -- is so affected by media. how you get his attention? humor, other things that make things go viral. you have to get him out of a big cacophonous space. >> talking about mass media advertising note -- do you think we will have that in 10 years, 20 years, there will be a time when companies are showing individually-targeted ads to viewers? >> i think the short answer is there will be no technical
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limitation of being able to do that. then it will just be a behavioral decision of whether to do that with your relationship with the consumer or company or not. that is exactly what happens on the web, right? if i go to amazon right now or if you go at the same time, we may not see the same advertising environment around as. if we go to, i guarantee you we will not see the same. going back to the first point, the i.t. metadata, the line between tv distribution and internet distribution becomes a lot fuzzier. what you are able to do with the internet model, you certainly will be able to do with the cable model. is proprietary. the mechanisms are there. we could know what you were
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watching at the moment, who is doing the watching. x box has an application out -- you walk in the room, the kinect system looks at you and knows it is you and not your son. that is fascinating. if it is your son, you can change what he is watching on tv versus yourself. i think that is fascinating. the question is what the dialogue with consumers, where is the comfort level? that is the point. >> speaking about that comfort level, the cree -- the creaminess -- the creepiness, the only have to get your permission once as a user to share your information.
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if they get your permission, they could use it in some ways that people might find creepy. were even facebook might be creepy. do you think there is something different about the cable culture that has you thinking about the creepiness factor? >> i think sometimes you are where you came from. there has been large divergence in the amount of communication. what cable does and what facebook and google do is being more like this and like this. but they come from a variety of different places. we have a secure, trusted, expensive relationships with the consumer. we take your money. when you are at the point of sales -- i am the guy who asks you to spend your money today. i come into your home, literally. physically, a guy comes to your
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home to install the thing. i have a relationship with you that depends on a really a high degree of trust, that you find that subscription worth paying for every month. i have to protect your comfort with that relationship to a much greater idea -- a greater degree than some of the tech companies have to. it is very transactional on the internet. at one point, the internet had a lot more experimentation with subscription-based models. when you have a subscription, you of a trusting relationship with the consumer. the internet for the most part has blown past that. we do not have rss feed demi moore. most of it is who lands here for what purpose? i get paid if you push the clique. i do not really care if you like
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what is there were not. i only care if you do what causes the monetary machine to turn over. that is just a different relationship with the consumer. and i think we are a culture that is more conservative about that. mark -- one of the great pioneers, but i think he has made no secret. that information is meant to be available to all people at all times. they are very comfortable with this very thin line. i understand the argument. but i do not know that that will comport with most people's views are not. >> michael brought up purchasing a little bit earlier
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and one of the hit shows is "downton abbey." if they want to purchase it on line with amazon or netflix, they can. you could do that with"homeland" or another one of these series. how is this ability to micro purchase going to affect the cable industry in the next few years? >> i'm not sure. when this first started, when i struck a deal with disney and people predicted the end of television. people predicted that tivo was the end of television. people predicted that dvr and skipping commercials -- i think we have seen the appetite for television stimulated, not retarded. in fact it was the opposite. if someone comes to me today and
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says, have you ever seen "breaking bad?" my answer would be no. "you should really see this showed." great. what they are really saying is you are my friend. i want to talk to you about it. i could go to i toons or -- itunes or roku and i can catch up. and i can go back to you tomorrow and say, you know what? i got through the first season on the christmas holiday. now we can talk. but by the way, i was dying for the first episode first"downton abbey" in season 3. when i got tuned into it, me and
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my wife plow through it, fell in love with it. we wanted to be in the contemporaneously conversation. and right now, i would do anything to have my hands on the season 3. i think what we often do not talk about is the window element of content, right? the key is everything now is available to everyone some way. really the only issue is when and for how much. if you want to wait, if you were willing to watch everything you want to watch nine months to 12 months later, he could watch everything with these platforms. but the thing is, i do not think we are that patient. why? you want to be in the conversation.
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you are underestimating the power of that conversation. so, certain markey series, yes, you could go back. i do not meet a new friend and say "have you never seen the wire?" if you let the sun set on your life and you did not see one of the most brilliantly-written series, i would say shame on you. why? the cultural referencing and the power of what happened there has made its way into what it means to be up on cultural thinks. so, it depends on the show. some shows, i guarantee you -- two weeks go by and i have not seen it, it's gone. i am not going to go back. unless it is "km." i miss it two, three weeks in a
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row, i will rarely go back. it is just the nature of how i consumed. >> the cost keeps going up m for up mcta, especially sports programming. when do we see that driver exceed the ability of people to pay for it? but that is the billion dollar question. i would say -- >> that is the billion dollar question. i would say different leaders have different views about when that is. the one thing you cannot argue -- by the way -- i do not think you necessarily have to make anyone a villain to have the conversation factually. but if you just took sports or other programming costs and to look at their rise over time and the rise in the subscription revenue growth over time and you
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would see this happening. i see this happening for the foreseeable future. may be that and the operator has very little choice. they have to pass on to consumers who are still recovering from the recession. is there a point at which they say, i can handle it anymore? the whole model has a problem. i can control that the nfl has the power to demand a 73% increase, which i find astonishingly insane. >> right. >> i can believe that alex rodriguez makes $250 million a year for baseball. but he does. and by the way, when enough americans with intensity and passion about these things -- i have yankees family members who would pay half their mortgage to see the yankees in the world
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series. it is just the reality of this system. we all ought to wake up and be careful, i think -- programmers and operators -- about how we manage our relationship with each other's -- with each other and reduce the fiduciary response on the consumer so we do not reduce them to smithereens and invite the government to come do it for you, which i think nobody is the winner on. >> michael powell. predictions on the future of tv -- channels will go away, remotes will go away, we will have screens everywhere. what is your reaction to those predictions and how does that affect the current cable business? >> we will have screens everywhere. and not so sure we do not already have screens everywhere. the typical american household
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still has three tvs and probably growing. when i go to work in the morning, there are a video screens on the side. there in metro centers. they are everywhere. i think that question is an easy one to subscribe to. i do not know what it means to say there are no channels. i am not sure i agree with that, because i am not sure i know what he means. any system with curated contract records -- require some kind of organization. you do not go home and open the kitchen drawer and throw all the stuff in a big basket. you but your knives in a folder. you put your spoons, i hope -- you have one of these things. duration is itself an art. -- duration is itself an art. c uration is itself in our.
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we have lost the art ofcuration -- of curation. i always say this to friends and family about photos. in my adult life, i've probably taken hundreds of thousands of pictures in ways i could not have done with previous technology. digital cameras, cell phone. sometimes we load them on computers. increasingly we do not. my iphoto account, there are thousands of pictures. they increasingly made no sense to me. when i am 80 years old, sitting on the couch and want to look back at my life, it is not going to be to open up a computer and plow through 14,000 photographs. it is going to be the specialness of opening up an album that someone has
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collected with rep moments. when i was 12 when my mother took me to the zoo. i think the part of inspiration and editorial discretion is still worth fighting for. i do not have the view that somehow infinitely massive amounts of data with no organization is nirvana. i think people want simplicity and they want some control to have meaning for them. now television through channels is able to parochial lead -- parochially separate, do you want to what i history program tonight? do you want to learn how to make christmas dinner tonight? the remote-control -- i would be the first one who would like to throw mine.
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but i think we will interface differently. we will still have the interface. it is still a machine and you are a human being. and somehow we are exactly the same thing -- which i do not have any hope for, i will have to communicate my means to this device. i will have to touch it, speak to it, press a button. do something. it is not going to be what you see today with the remote control, but it is going to be a mechanism. i will talk to the machine and the machine will understand me. >> we've been talking about the future television wet michael powell and lynn stanton. thank you, both. >> thank you. >> tomorrow on "washington journal," we discussed the latest on the so-called fiscal
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cliff negotiations and preview the week ahead. beat politico reporter discusses the role of lobbyists. and an update on the situation in syria. that is live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> this week on "newsmakers," gov. peter shulim discusses the fiscal cliff and its impact. that is a 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> we have had these explosions of knowledge. but we have not coordinated care and all of these services have so many cracks that the cracks are as harmful


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